How to Write your Own Schedule using Living Books

(1) Collect books!

I love to shop for books. I always find something interesting- look a book on cells, look this is a classic, this is a great way to view what is inside the body… you get the idea. I found that I had collected a lot of these books but my kids weren’t reading them. There were assigned ‘school’ and they didn’t want to do more than they HAD TO. I could find ways to stick it in once in awhile but in the end I found that I had GREAT books going unused on my shelf.

I love to thrift shop. I buy my clothes second-hand. My kitchen utensils, my furniture…. books too! Have you noticed at the homeschool book sales that there isn’t always a lot of ‘curriculum’ for sale but a lot of books? Homeschool  moms love to shop for books. I’m not alone here 😉

(2) group your books/choose a class or interest.

I wanted my son to take tenth grade Biology…. (this is the long story, skip ahead if you want the short one)… He had done Apologia Physical Science. He didn’t like it. It made science a chore for him. I looked at PAC and I loved the books but I found that it wasn’t affordable- none available used (or very few, or no bargains at least) and then after I used up the workbooks- it would be worth little to resell. I could use and not mark in the books- but still- very few people even knew what it was. It didn’t seem to hold a value.

I looked at Shepherd Science. I liked it. My son did not.

Online classes were not available to us with rural internet.

My Son said ‘can’t you just write something?’ blink, blink…..yes I suppose I can. (Haven’t I been collecting all of those great books on cells, inside of the body….) I began to research…

(3) Research

After choosing a subject, I hop on the internet.

“biology books for high school”

“high school biology requirements”

“Ellen J McHenry Cells book syllabus schedule unit study homeschool”

are you getting the idea?

I found and found that she had already done what I wanted to. Use this research! (1) yes this is what I want- use it or (2) I like this, this and this, don’t want this, this and this- take notes.

check another textbook. anything. borrow one. see if there is anything that looks important you haven’t included.

start making a list of researched books, and the ones you have. read reviews on Amazon- the bad reviews. not the good ones. put books in your cart.

(4) make an activity Binder

*this is optional for sure.

I had followed links in my ‘research’ section that I wanted to keep. some I put in a pinterest folder…others I just printed the hands on activity on the spot.

I researched activities on Pinterest and made a ‘biology’ folder. I printed some ideas from there.

I made a binder with printed/printable activities. It really is terribly unorganized but when the kids found ‘binder activity’ in their schedules- they’d ask!

(5) choose a spine and make a schedule!

first step in this is choosing a spine. now this can be a timeline or it can be a book. For Biology I used the Biology 101 DVD- in order of creation.

  1. plants

I have Ellen J McHenry’s book on Botany. now determine how much can your child handle in a day and schedule it. ch 1, ch 2, activity…. and so on.




High School Human Anatomy & Physiology

I make no guarantees of credits, or level of materials.

We use a 4 day schedule leaving time for flexibility.  We almost always school 5 days and then use Fridays to follow rabbit trails, notebook and catch up.


(BBD) Body by Design: An Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body by Allen Gillen

(DVD) Answers in Genesis Series Body of Evidence with Dr David Menton

(Bio) Biology Instructional Fairs

(H) Human Body Instruction Fairs

(Blood and Guts) Brown Paper School Book: Blood and Guts by Linda Allison  *this one targets a little younger audience by this child does better with ideas she can picture and this book is written that way.

(famous scientists) The How and Why book of Famous Scientists by Jean Bethell * this is a book I had on my self- quick, short biographies to supplement.

(origins) A Question of Origins: Created or Evolved by Shelby MacFarlane

(brain) The Brain by Ellen J McHenry

(galen) Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick

(IBG) Inspector Bodyguard patrols the land of U by Vicki Cobb ** again not a very science-y kid,  better with an image in her head. geared young but fun and informative.


anatomy and physiology printable schedule

or Anatomy and physiology one line schedule if you wish to use my organization and paste into a planner blank.

Forensic Science with lab

My 7th grader enjoyed this. This is scheduled for just a little less than an 18 week semester- 14 weeks. She studied an Agriscience textbook we used an older edition of this textbook for the first half of the year and this after that was finished. It seemed too slow to study that book all year, but too much to cram into one semester too, so this was my solution.


(proj) Detective Science by Jim Wiese

(CD) DK Eyewitness books: Crime and Detection by Brian Lane

(Pieces) Forensic Science: Putting the Pieces Together by M. Langley Biegert

(cells) National Geographic Reading Expeditions: Life Science: Looking at Cells by Rebecca L. Johnson (when searching for this one on Amazon, I only found this 6-pack and cannot tell what the other books are. I purchased this one used.)

(fingerprints) Fingerprints and Talking Bones: How Real-Life Crimes Are Solved by Charlotte Foltz Jones

Introduction to Forensics by Farm School Iowa downloadable schedule 14 weeks

lab supplies for this in general: she asked for a microscope for her birthday one year so that is available for this study. I know one lab requires super glue, tin foil and a jar or container to seal it in (we used a canning jar and lid), one required we each run our fingers through our hair and give a strand of hair to my young scientist, one lab required ink to make fingerprints (which we couldn’t find so we used paint) most of the labs do not require too much, but if requested, I can make a list of needed supplies here.

however, some are more complicated. One made a plaster cast of a print in the ground (we talked about and explored using playdoh to make an simple cast to look at) and one lab required a tape recorder, speaker and wire. We did not accomplish that one. When we encounter this we look on youtube and sometimes find that we can watch someone else do this lab.









Music Appreciation

This is a MUSIC APPRECIATION class – Still in Progress! The goal was to use our together reading time while the olders were off doing their chores. I used some books we had, and did a youtube search almost daily to supplement and listen to music. Here is what we used. (my plan for the second half is only an outline so if you have any ideas of great resources let me know!) I schedule 4 days a week to allow for any field trips, tough days, room to catch up, room to chase ideas down rabbit holes, and room for days we all need to help on the farm. We almost always school 5 days a week but this schedule leaves us room to wiggle as needed. Fridays are listed as catch up and notebooking days. This course may be a bit more loosely scheduled yet as it depended on how long we had to read together until siblings got back in from feeding the animals.

Music Appreciation:

(FC) A Child’s Book of Famous Composers by Gladys Burch and John Wolcott

(CD)The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine (Honestly, I didn’t really use this book, but I had it and it came with a CD with a ton of music on it so the # listed are from this CD and it is just as easy to look them up on youtube!)

(LM) Lives of the Musicians by Kathleen Krull

(Opera) The Barefoot Book of Stories from the Opera by Shahrukh Husain

Pirates of Penzance (DVD, youtube, netflix….)


Week 1: Psalms study. – Okay so I found some information somewhere when I followed a link and I printed it. It doesn’t say the webstie and I can’t locate it again. If you borrow it, you get it too….otherwise I guess it is a one week study on your own good luck 😉 Google turned up some interesting ideas 😉

and define Polyphony, Monophony, Homophony and Monody

week 2:  Baroque Period

Bach LM starts on p 14 CD #3,#19,#35

Vivaldi LM p 10 CD #2

Handel FC p 29

week 3:

Mozart LM p 18,CD #22,27

FC p 45 , Opera p 15

Beethoven LM p 24 CD #6,7,36

FC p 55

week 4:

Chopin LM p30 (youtube a muzurka, polonaise – polish styles )

FC p 81 (youtube a concerto, rondo, nocturne,waltz)

Verdi LM p 36

FC p 115

Week 5:

Brahams LM p 48

FC p 131 CD #27

Tchaikovdky LM p 54 CD #13,20,34

week 6: Romantic Period

Rossini CD #16, Opera p 49

Schumann FC p 89

Mendelssohn FC p73

week 7: Opera

Gluck FC p29 CD #18

Opera p 59

Wagner FC p105

Opera p 39

week 8 Gilbert & Sullivan LM p 58, watch Pirates of Penzance

Week 9 Modern Period

Foster FC p123

Joplin LM p66

Gershwin LM 86

DeBussy FC p167 CD #11

Woody Guthrie LM p 91

week 10: American Big Band

(still in progress from here on)

Louis Armstrong

Duke Ellington

Lawrence Welk


John Phillip Sousa


Meridith Wilson

Rogers & Hammerstein

History of Rock & Roll ( I have a book- need to finish the part 😉 )